Julianna walked as quickly down the street as was humanly possible to do without falling over her own feet, although she was sure she’d probably end up doing just that if she didn’t calm down. She couldn’t calm down though, thoughts of what might or might not have happened to her during those eight hours she’d been missing had kept her awake every night for a week. She hadn’t been able to go to any of her jobs, all her employers had been understanding, told her to take her time, not to rush back, wait till she felt up to it. At the present moment she felt like she would never feel up to it again. She had sent the kids to stay with their father and his girlfriend, she didn’t feel they were safe at home. Thank God the divorce had been amicable.
The police had been and taken a statement from her and apparently some inspector or other wanted to talk to her, well he’d have to wait. She was taking matters into her own hands. Not that she didn’t trust the police to do their job but she had her kids to consider. She wanted to know what had happened to her and who had done it. She wanted whoever it was caught and thrown in jail with some big hairy inmates who hadn’t seen a woman in twenty years. According to the advert in the local paper the man she was going to see would be able to make sure all that happened.
Making a point of stopping in front of a clothes shop and pretending to look at the display, she checked to make sure she wasn’t being followed. Not that she knew who would be following her anyway but still. After a decent amount of time had passed she carried on walking.
Someone was following her but she would never have seen them. Not in a shop window anyway.
She checked the address on the advert again. She was standing outside the right building but it looked vacant. There didn’t appear to be a front entrance of any kind. There was a window but it was shut tight and a had a blind drawn down. She took a step or two back and looked up. Above her were two more windows, one of which was open. She thought for a moment about throwing a stone up or shouting but that would only bring unwanted attention, she was trying to be discreet after all. Maybe I should ring the number on the advert she thought and took her mobile out of her bag. The phone rang and rang, then it cut to the answer machine.
She looked up and down the street as if somehow that would provide a solution to her problem, needless to say it didn’t. There seemed little point in hanging around any longer, it was obvious no one was about.
So much for the ‘twenty four seven service’ the ad had boasted about.
She walked away feeling totally defeated, tears welled up in her eyes. She rooted through her handbag for a tissue but she didn’t have any. The only time I want a bloody tissue and I haven’t bloody got one she cursed to herself. She felt as if she couldn’t go another step, all the emotions she’d kept pushing back down inside herself for the sake of her kids came gushing out all at once. No Private Detective, no bloody tissues and no sodding idea what had happened to her. She sat down on a wall, crying and shaking. A few people walked past but decided it was none of their business and carried on to wherever they were going.
She had no idea how long she’d been sitting there when suddenly a white object swam into her line of vision. It came into focus and she realised it was a handkerchief.
“Thank you” she whispered in it’s general direction.
“Quite all right” replied a man’s voice “Are you okay? What happened?”
“It’s a long story” she sniffed suddenly feeling very embarrassed “Thank you for the hanky.. I should be going home..”
“Not on your own and not in that state. Come into my office, I’ll make you some tea and phone a taxi for you”
“Really I’m fine, I wouldn’t want you to go to any trouble Mr…?”
“Granger. Reid Granger. It’s no trouble. My office is only there” he indicated the vacant looking building she’d been standing outside.
“I don’t bloody believe this” she muttered.